By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli look set to announce the identify of the racing driver who will be testing its Formula One tyres.
Media reports have already linked Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld with the role of helping the Italian tyres manufacturer to prepare for the 2011 season, according to PaddockTalk, a leading online racing website.
It is believed Pirelli will conduct six tests before all the teams try the tyres for the first time in Abu Dhabi in mid November.
A spokesman for Pirelli’s F1 programme said this pre-Abu Dhabi testing, reportedly with a 2009 Toyota car, will not begin until “about September”.
“At the moment, we have produced the first scale models of the tyres, at 50 per cent size, for the purposes of wind tunnel testing,” he said.
“The four compounds are currently being worked upon, with the prototypes scheduled to come out next month.
“There was a test that took place at Paul Ricard in France recently, but that was for GP2 tyres. There, we completed more than 120 laps with no problems.”
As for a driver for the F1 tests, the spokesman said an announcement can be expected “either next week or the week after”.
He said “two permanent test drivers” will be appointed, “one for F1 and one for GP2”.
“Details of the F1 car we will be testing with” will also be provided, the Pirelli spokesman added.